Below is the 2020 year in review for Wright Service Corp., an excerpt from Chairman and CEO Scott Packard’s speech during Wright Service Corp.’s Annual Awards Banquet that took place on March 12 virtually.
Over a year ago, none of us could have imagined the disruption to our daily lives, our work and families the pandemic would cause. As we navigated the early days, management spent many hours planning for the impact this would have on our business and how long it would last.
Our initial optimism, that we would recover in a couple of months, was quickly dispelled. As the days turned to weeks to months and now over a year – the manner in which we conducted business and served our customers was turned on its head.
In a matter of a few short days, our entire company successfully went virtual – our administrative jobs, payroll, human resources, marketing, training and development, and accounting – began working from home. Teams, Zoom and WebEx became the new normal in the way we communicated and got things done.
Operationally, we continued to provide essential services across North America. As we hold safety as our top value, new policies were put in place to ensure our employees’ health and well-being. And we delivered.
2020, for all its challenges, turned in record results for the family of companies. Again, we ranked as the 24th largest employee-owned company in the United States. We continue to execute on our five-year strategic plan.
While we did not break ground on our new North American headquarters, we took the opportunity to completely remodel and enhance our existing corporate campus to provide a modernized and safe environment. A primary driver in constructing a new headquarters was a lack of space. Quickly, work-from-home became a viable means to effectively serve our customers and meet the needs of our employees. They expressed interest in continuing to work remote to some extent long after this pandemic is a memory. This alone would eliminate our present space constraints for the near long-term. This will allow us to emerge from this period, take advantage of opportunities, preserve capital and protect our employees’ interests as employee owners. Renovations will be complete around the same time you’ll be reading this. As summer came upon us, our operations continued to add new customers and service territory across North America, and they were busy. We responded to seven named hurricanes – Isaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, Zeta and Eta, and the derecho windstorm that hit the Midwest.
For the first time, we sent employees across borders from Canada to the United States to assist in storm restoration and wildfire mitigation. Our Canadian operations planted over 19 million trees in the western provinces without a single case of COVID-19. We verified sustainable farming practices on over 180,000 acres in 28 states, Mexico and Canada. We removed 1,000 diseased Ash trees in central Iowa, many being re-purposed at our headquarters for furnishings as part of our remodeling project.
We launched the Wright Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation, committed to forward-thinking solutions to reduce environmental risk to our communities and the planet at large. We published our preliminary corporate social responsibility report, our way of showcasing how we’re delivering the highest level of professional, safe, and environmentally conscious services and
solutions to the industry, public and the communities we work and live in.
While we did not surpass 2019’s record for return on our stock price, which by the way was 82%, we did achieve a 77% return and recorded our 18th year of consecutive growth.
While we have experienced tremendous growth over the last few years and in spite of everything 2020 threw at us, our results were remarkable. But what made it truly remarkable was you. I could not be prouder of what we accomplished as a team. I’ve always believed crisis tests the values you hold dear – safety, integrity, excellence, innovation, teamwork and family. And to that regard, we passed the test.